One week, people! In one week the first TWO books in my Science Fiction series Grace’s Moon will be released! Yep, the epic adventure of stranded colonists trying to build a new civilization on a habitable moon in the middle of nowhere is my first foray out of Romance and into Sci-Fi. Sure, there is a romance that plays a key role in the plot that stretches through these two books, but it’s an entirely different genre for me.
So what, you might ask, is an Historical Romance writer doing penning extra-planetary Science Fiction? What kind of a leap is that?
Truth be told, I don’t see it as a leap at all. In fact, in order to write the Grace’s Moon series, I’ve ended up doing a lot of historical research. Real, deep, involved historical research.
There isn’t all that much of a difference between writing a novel set in the past and a novel set in the future. Both kinds of stories involve some place and time that is not here and now. Both require a lot of world-building and setting of scenes that are unfamiliar to the reader. Details become hugely important. What people wear, how they talk, how they interact with each other, and how they view their world are key elements to bring into a story to make the reader feel at home in a strange world. Both genres take the reader away from where they started and open new horizons.
But for me, for Grace’s Moon in particular, I have sought to bring as much history as possible into this story of the future. The kernel of the idea that sprouted this story and the end that I am aiming for is one simple question: If a highly technologically advanced society suddenly lost all technology and lost the capability to make more, what era of history would their society devolve back into? What would people do if they had advanced knowledge but didn’t have the infrastructure to continue it? How quickly would the knowledge die and what would be preserved?
Cool stuff, eh? And believe me, I’m going to spend a lot of books examining these ideas and developing a society that is both advanced and ages behind where we, the readers of the 21st century, are now.
But what about that historical research that I did for these books? What exactly do you research to help develop a brand new civilization on a distant moon?
The first thing I found myself researching (years ago, actually) was how animals became domesticated here on Earth. I mean, at some point in pre-history, animals were animals and humans weren’t that far behind. So how and why did some species end up on a farm while others stayed out in the wild?
The answer was kind of fascinating. As far as we can tell from ancient records and modern animal behavior, some species are naturally inclined to be herd animal. Cows and sheep in particular seem to be born to be around humans in packs or herds. Ancient records suggest that once early humans started feeding these kinds of animals and keeping them close, they stayed close and let themselves become farm animals instead of living life in the wild. Humans protected them from predators as much as they were the predators themselves.
Not so for other animals. Some just refuse to be tamed, no matter how you dress them up and put them in Vegas shows. Yep, I’m thinking of big cats here. But this is my science fiction world, right? I can tame whichever animals I want to and leave the rest to develop in the wild. And being a cat person (with secret fantasies of owning a tiger), well, some of the animals Grace and her friends discover on the moon are not quite the same as their corresponding species on Earth.
Of course, my stranded settlers have some advantages that naturally-developing humans on Earth didn’t have. They do bring some technology with them. Maybe even by forethought, maybe by slightly nefarious means. *wiggles eyebrows* You’ll have to read to find out. I did have a great time researching shelters that would be easy to build with limited resources, where cereal grains, salt, and yeast came from if not from the supermarket, and how long it would take for modern, manmade clothes to disintegrate. You’ll see.
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